menu

Phase 2: Implementation

Employers and all employees including managers, supervisors, safety and health and union representatives all have a role in preventing alcohol-related harm and developing a fitness for work alcohol policy.

Implementing a fitness for work alcohol policy requires a gradual and informed introduction of change. The process, timing and overall support for policy implementation is critical to the credibility, acceptance and effectiveness of your policy.

In implementing a fitness for work alcohol policy the following is required:1

A key step in the implementation phase is addressing the workplace hazards and conditions identified in the workplace risk and needs assessment that may contribute to alcohol use in/or related to the workplace.

This may involve immediate action to remove identified workplace hazards or a process of identifying appropriate workplace strategies to reduce workplace risks in consultation with employees.

Policy Development and Production

Developing a workplace fitness for work alcohol policy requires a commitment from the employer and all employees, including management, supervisors and safety and health representatives.

The implementation of a fitness for work alcohol policy will vary from one workplace to another.

The approach your workplace undertakes will impact on the credibility and likelihood of acceptance and compliance within the workplace. To be effective, the policy needs to be developed through:

  • a clear and established process;
  • within a defined timeframe; and
  • supported by collaboration, consultation and communication between the employer and employees.

To assist workplaces in developing a fitness for work alcohol policy, a set of fact sheets has been developed; What is the process for developing a Fitness for Work Alcohol Policy and Considerations for Inclusion in a Fitness for Work Alcohol Policy.

Strategies to Support Policy Implementation

A fitness for work alcohol policy should be supported by :

Awareness Raising

Information, education and training is central to a 'whole-of workplace' health and safety approach to the prevention and management of alcohol-related harm.

Raising the awareness of the policy, the timeframe for implementation and employees participation in education and training is important and can be achieved through:

  • information dissemination including meetings, electronic networks and other media; displaying posters, providing pamphlets and booklets to employees;
  • information and education sessions that provide a forum that advises how and when the policy will be implemented, clarifying roles and responsibilities; and provides an opportunity for employees to raise questions or express concerns; and
  • orientation and induction programs and ongoing workplace education and training.

Information about the availability of support, counselling and treatment services e.g. Employee Assistance Programs, Community Drug and Alcohol Services and general counselling and treatment services and how to access them should be widely disseminated throughout the workplace.

 
Further Information

Workplace Education and Training

Regular and ongoing education and training provided through workplace orientation and induction and workplace safety and health programs can support the implementation of, acceptance and compliance with a fitness for work alcohol policy by:

  • raising awareness about alcohol-related harm and safety and health implications of alcohol-related harm in the workplace;
  • fostering a safe workplace culture around alcohol;
  • raising employees' awareness of the workplace fitness for work alcohol policy and procedures; and
  • supporting and enhancing the knowledge, skills and confidence of managers, supervisors, and safety and health representatives to identify, manage and respond to workplace alcohol use and related problems and 'fitness for work' issues. 2 3

To be effective, education and training programs need to be targeted at your individual workplace needs, adaptable to changing workplace circumstances and tailored for all employees.

Managers, supervisors and safety and health personnel will require specific training about the policy and the procedures for identifying, reporting and managing fitness for work alcohol-related issues.

Workplace education and training programs should address:3

  • the effects of alcohol on safety, health and work performance including risks and hazards related to the workplace;
  • the workplace culture and position on alcohol in the workplace e.g. alcohol-free workplace;
  • the rationale for why the workplace is implementing a fitness for work alcohol policy;
  • the specific content and details of the workplace policy including;
    • roles and responsibilities of the employer and employees;
    • workplace procedures and guidelines addressing:
      • conditions regarding alcohol availability and consumption at work-related and sponsored functions and events;
      • alcohol testing including managing positive results, follow up action and outcomes if required; and
      • skills for managers, supervisors and safety and health representatives on identifying, reporting and managing fitness for work issues relating to alcohol use and/or harm. For further information see the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety Guidance Note Alcohol and Other Drugs at the Workplace
  • access to and availability of support, counselling and treatment services e.g. Employee Assistance Programs, community alcohol and drug services and general counselling services;
  • privacy and confidentiality;
  • consequences of policy breaches for employees who fail to comply with the policy;
  • procedures for complaints and grievances; and
  • relevant occupational safety and health and other legislation regarding alcohol use.
 
Further Information

Communication and Feedback

Employers and employees all have a role in preventing alcohol-related harm and implementing the fitness for work alcohol policy and procedures in the workplace.

For the policy to be effectively implemented ongoing communication and feedback between the employer, employees and their representatives is important.

Promoting mechanisms for open communication and ongoing feedback through consultation, information sessions, meetings, electronic networks and other media ensures that issues can be addressed as they arise.

Ongoing communication and feedback will also enable the identification of procedures that require modification and new strategies that may need to be adopted to meet changing conditions and circumstances within the workplace.

 
References

1 Allsop, S., Pillips, M. and Calogero, C. (2001). Drugs and work: responding to alcohol and other drug problems in Australian workplaces. Melbourne. Australia.

2 National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction. (2006). Responding to Alcohol and Other Drug Related Issues in the Workplace: An Information and Resource Package. NCETA, Adelaide, South Australia.

3 Commission for Occupational Health and Safety. (2008). Guidance Note Alcohol and Other drugs at the Workplace. MIAC. Government of Western Australia.